More soldiers in Mali, extension of the deployment off Somalia

In the West African country of Mali, the number of German soldiers participating in the EU training mission EUTM is to be increased from a maximum of 450 to 600 armed forces, the Union faction’s vice-president Johann Wadephul (CDU) announced. Germany will take over the leadership of the operation this summer. For the UN blue helmet operation Minusma, the upper limit remains at 1,100 Bundeswehr soldiers. “This makes the operation more dangerous. But it also will have to be more effective,” said Wadephul. The withdrawal plan still has to be submitted to the Bundestag for confirmation.

Bundeswehr soldiers will also serve for another year as part of the EU mission ‘Atalanta’ off the Somali coast in East Africa, the Bundestag decided on Wednesday. The operation began in December 2008. The currently up to 400 German soldiers are allowed to disable pirates’ logistical facilities on Somalia’s beaches, approaching these to a maximum of 2,000 meters. Piracy has fallen sharply since the start of the mission, and the number of soldiers has been reduced in recent years.

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